ATLANTA (AP) -- So much for Auburn's national title hopes. At
this point, the Tigers would settle for scoring a touchdown.
Auburn (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) has quickly established itself as the nation's
most disappointing team, losing its second in a row Saturday when
Georgia Tech pulled off a 17-3 upset behind freshman quarterback
Reggie Ball and a ferocious defense.
"I never expected this to happen," Auburn running back Carnell
The Tigers (0-2) began the season ranked sixth in The Associated
Press rankings, and at least one magazine picked them to win the
national title. That goal already has gone by the wayside, the
victim of an inept offense that seemed totally confused against the
undersized Georgia Tech defense.
After getting routed at home by Southern California 23-0, the
Tigers were held to 230 yards by Georgia Tech (1-1). Jason Campbell
was sacked seven times and took a brutal beating nearly every time
he dropped back.
"I don't know," offensive coordinator Hugh Nall said. "We're
not catching the ball when we need to, not protecting enough, not
making enough good decisions when we throw."
And what about Auburn's supposedly powerful running game? With
all the sacks thrown in, the Tigers were held to just 40 yards on
Two games into the season, they have yet to reach the end zone.
"That's a big surprise, especially with the powerhouse offense
they're supposed to have," said linebacker Keyaron Fox, one of
Georgia Tech's defensive stars. "You can see their capabilities,
but they don't have it all together. They have a hard time picking
up certain things, such as movement up front."
The game was the first at expanded Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the
capacity was raised from 43,000 to 55,000 with the addition of a
new deck in the north end zone. Nearly all the new seats were
filled with Auburn fans, but they didn't have much to cheer about.
"I was surprised. There was a lot of orange out there,"
Georgia Tech safety Dennis Davis said. "But, hey, this is still
At the end, most of the orange-clad bunch was already on the
streets of Atlanta. The fans wearing gold were left to storm the
field, quickly ripping down both goal posts and lifting Ball onto
their collective shoulders while chanting "Reggie! Reggie!
Ball, the first true freshman ever to start an opener at
quarterback for Georgia Tech, set the tone on his team's first
offensive play. Nate Curry got loose behind the secondary and
hauled in a 54-yard pass, which set up Dan Burnett's 22-yard field
Ball clinched the victory with the first touchdown pass of his
young career, a perfectly thrown ball to Mark Logan for a 26-yard
scoring play late in the third quarter. It was Logan's first career
"I basically thought we could do anything we wanted to do,"
While Auburn still had plenty of time to get back in the game
after Logan's TD, the Tigers' offense is a mess. Williams and
Ronnie Brown are supposed to carry the load, but Georgia Tech
blitzed heavily and dared the Tigers to win through the air. They
Amid all the punishment, Campbell managed to complete 20 of 33
passes for 190 yards. That was about it for the offense -- Williams
ran 13 times for 37 yards, while Brown was held to 47 yards on 11
Fox was in on 15 tackles, while Eric Henderson ran right by
Auburn's huge offensive line to make three sacks.
"Last week, we played a really good defense," Tigers tackle
Mark Pera said. "This week, I don't know what went wrong."
Georgia Tech went up 10-0 in the second quarter on P.J. Daniels'
1-yard touchdown plunge. The drive stayed alive when the Yellow
Jackets faked a punt on fourth-and-1, snapping the ball directly to
the up-back, safety Chris Reis, who ran for 4 yards.
After Auburn was penalized for roughing the passer, Ball ran 12
yards on a draw to set up Daniels' score.
The freshman had something to prove against Auburn, which backed
off on a scholarship offer late in the recruiting process. Georgia
Tech is sure glad to have him. He was 9-of-21 for 149 yards, rushed
nine times for 26 yards and showed poise far beyond his 18 years.
"Obviously, Georgia Tech was the right place," he said. "I
wouldn't even want to go to Auburn right now."
Auburn finally scored for the first time this season with 33
seconds left in the first half. Even that score was a bit of a
disappointment as the Tigers couldn't punch it in with
first-and-goal at the Georgia Tech 6.
Brown ran for 2 yards, then Campbell threw two straight
incompletions before John Vaughn booted a 22-yard field goal.
The schools are among the oldest rivals in the Deep South,
meeting for the first time in 1892. But the series ended in 1987
because of scheduling difficulties.
After waiting 16 years to get another crack at the Tigers,
Georgia Tech made the most of its opportunity. The victory was its
first over Auburn since 1978.
"It was an awesome win," defensive tackle Travis Parker said.
"I've never been part of something like that."